We all use countless inventions every day, from the lightbulb to the toothbrush. But did you know that many of these everyday items were originally invented for something else entirely? Here are five examples:
1. The lightbulb
We all know that the lightbulb was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879. But did you know that his original intention was not to create a light source, but rather to improve the efficiency of telegraphy? It wasn’t until Edison realized that the filament in his bulb could produce light when he turned his attention to creating a new type of lighting.
2. The dishwasher
The first dishwasher was invented in 1850 by Joel Houghton, and it was a far cry from the modern appliances we use today. Houghton’s machine was a wooden box that held a water-filled basin and a rack for dishes. The user had to manually crank the machine in order to wash the dishes, which made it more of a chore than a convenience.
It wasn’t until 1886 that the first electric dishwasher was invented, and it wasn’t until the 1950s that dishwashers began to resemble the ones we use in our homes today.
3. The pacemaker
The pacemaker is a life-saving device that is implanted in the chest of people with heart rhythm disorders. It uses electrical pulses to regulate the heartbeat.
The first pacemaker was invented in 1932 by Dr. John Hopps, but it was originally intended to be used as a treatment for heart arrhythmias, not as a life-saving device. It wasn’t until 1958 that the first pacemaker was used to treat a heart blockage, and it wasn’t until the 1960s that pacemakers began to be used regularly to treat heart conditions.
4. The paperclip
The paperclip is one of the most ubiquitous office supplies, but did you know that it was originally invented for something else entirely? The paperclip was invented in 1867 by Swedish inventor Johan Vaaler, and it was originally intended to be used as a device to hold papers together.
It wasn’t until 1901 that the paperclip was patented in the United States, and it wasn’t until the 1920s that the paperclip began to be used in its now-familiar form.
5. The Post-It Note
The Post-It Note is another ubiquitous office supply, and like the paperclip, it was originally invented for something else. The Post-It Note was invented in 1968 by 3M scientist Dr. Spencer Silver, and it was originally intended to be used as a bookmark.
It wasn’t until 1974 that the Post-It Note began to be used in its now-familiar form, and it wasn’t until 1980 that the product was finally marketed to consumers.
These are just a few examples of everyday items that were originally invented for something else. Next time you use one of these items, take a moment to think about the fascinating history behind it.